TCM Acupuncture

Acupuncture From A Whole-Body Perspective

A foundational concept in the world of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is that every person has the innate ability to heal themselves.  Optimal health and wellness can only be attained through addressing the elements of our lives holistically.  As TCM practitioners, our primary role is to promote the natural healing process by synergizing multiple treatment methods with the goal of removing energy blockages at all levels of being.

At Refined Health & Wellness, we offer Registered TCM Acupuncture treatments, but with the added supplementation of holistic health modalities (Acupressure, Electro-Acupuncture, Ear Acupuncture, Fire Cupping, Gua Sha, Moxibustion, Herbal Therapy, and Dietary Support).

TCM Acupuncture treatment at Refined Health & Wellness in St. Albert
TCM Acupuncture treatment room with a view of the Sturgeon River
Ear Acupuncture treatment at Refined Health & Wellness in St. Albert
TCM Acupuncture treatment at Refined Health & Wellness in St. Albert

COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO TCM ACUPUNCTURE

COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO

TCM ACUPUNCTURE

TCM Acupuncture is a wonderful treatment option for clients of all ages and who host a spectrum of health and wellness goals.  

We are aware that you may have some important questions about TCM Acupuncture, wondering about its history, how it works, the incredible benefits, and the treatment process. 

Our comprehensive TCM Acupuncture guide addresses these questions, and shines light on many of the most frequently asked topics we get from clients.

NEW TO TCM ACUPUNCTURE?

If you are a new client to Acupuncture, we ask that you first book an initial consultation.  This includes a thorough assessment followed immediately by your first acupuncture treatment.  Our TCM Acupuncture treatments are separated by age group, so please make sure to book your initial consultation accordingly:

  • Adult Acupuncture (18 and up) – 90 Minute Initial Consultation
  • Youth Acupuncture (9 to 17 years of age– 60 Minute Initial Consultation
  • Child Acupuncture (8 and under) – 30 Minute Initial Consultation

MORE ABOUT TCM ACUPUNCTURE AT REFINED...

DIRECT BILLING

Interested in having your next acupuncture treatment directly billed to your insurance benefit provider?  We’ve got you covered!

Take a look at our comprehensive guide to direct billing and insurance claim submissions at Refined Health & Wellness.

TCM ACUPUNCTURE FEES

Our therapy fee schedule presents a complete and up-to-date list of all of the TCM Acupuncture services that we currently offer at Refined..

Please be mindful of the different age categories assigned to the specific initial consultation durations.

FREQUENTLY ASK QUESTIONS

Have questions about your next acupuncture experience at Refined Health & Wellness?

We have compiled a list of ‘frequently asked questions’ to help you better understand our clinic’s protocols and procedures.

TCM Acupuncture treatment at Refined Health & Wellness in St. Albert
TCM Acupuncture treatment room with a view of the Sturgeon River
Ear Acupuncture treatment at Refined Health & Wellness in St. Albert
TCM Acupuncture treatment at Refined Health & Wellness in St. Albert

TCM ACUPUNCTURE WITH ADDED HOLISTIC HEALTH MODALITIES

GUA SHA

Gua Sha is designed to release unhealthy elements from injured areas of the body and stimulates blood flow and healing.  

Using specialized instruments made from plastic, soap stone or jade, the practitioner uses repeated strokes over specific areas to release adhesions, reduce excess fluids, loosen connective tissue and release stagnant blood trapped within the tissues.

FIRE CUPPING

Fire Cupping is the term applied to the technique that uses small glass cups as suction devices to lightly pull the skin into the cup.

Fire Cupping therapy is designed to align and relax Qi, open Meridians, clear blockages, release toxins, move lymph, and invigorate veins and arteries with fresh blood. Cupping can be used to treat back and neck pain, reduce inflammation, increase blood flow, loosen scar tissue and muscle knots, and can also help treat anxiety, fatigue and migraines.

EAR ACUPUNCTURE

The ear holds a microsystem of the body, and by needling the respective points on the ear, the body responds as it would to acupoints located on the body.

Ear Acupuncture is a treatment modality that is free of side effects, and has been known to treat chronic pain, neurological and hormonal conditions, migraines, insomnia, stress, depression and irritable bowel syndrome (to name a few).

TCM Acupuncture treatment at Refined Health & Wellness in St. Albert
TCM Acupuncture treatment room with a view of the Sturgeon River
Ear Acupuncture treatment at Refined Health & Wellness in St. Albert
TCM Acupuncture treatment at Refined Health & Wellness in St. Albert

COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO TCM ACUPUNCTURE

CLICK ON THE FOLLOWING TOPICS FOR MORE INFO

WHAT IS TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE?

Acupuncture Meridian Decor

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) views the human body as a whole, rather than separating it into a collection of symptoms and body parts. This means that no symptom of pain or illness is addressed (nor is it understood) without assessing how the entire person is doing.

All symptoms experienced by the patient, whether they are physical, mental, emotional or spiritual, are part of one expression of illness: your specific expression of an illness. The theory behind this approach acknowledges that nobody experiences an illness the same way. Therefore, treating the whole person and his/her entire combination of symptoms, rather than ‘fixing’ a single symptom alone, creates a better opportunity for the whole body to heal.

In a holistic model of health, disease and disharmony take up residence in the body when any combination of physical, environmental, psychological and emotional stressors, disturb the normal function of organ systems. In most cases, these energetic disharmonies can all be addressed in one treatment plan.

A part of Traditional Chinese Medicine is devoted to promoting wellness and longevity. Supporting the body’s ability to adapt and resist to various health challenges has broad benefits for the immune system, the nervous system and the endocrine system. Keeping the mind, body and heart strong and resilient so it can resist illness and disease is the most fundamental principle of Holistic health in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

WHAT IS TCM ACUPUNCTURE?

Acupuncture is the practice of inserting ultra fine needles into specific points of energy that are located along 14 meridians or channels that cover the entire body.

There are 365 classical acupuncture points associated with the 14 meridians. These points and meridians, mapped out millennia ago and confirmed by consistent practice, have shown that skillful insertion and manipulation of specific points will produce predictable results in the body.

Acupuncture Needles Sizes

HOW DOES ACUPUNCTURE WORK?

Yin Yang

The core of Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on the philosophy that the balance between Yin and Yang keeps organs and body functions running smoothly.

Yin has the action of moistening and nourishing the tissues and organs and is the foundation for all the fluids in the body (blood and body fluids). Yin is the fundamental substance for birth, growth and reproduction. Yang has the action of warming the body and organs and is the foundation of all motive energies of the body. Yang is also the force behind all physiological processes in the body and is the root of Qi (“chee”), transformation and movement.

Yin and Yang depend on each other to exist and they interact and mutually restrict one another. This relationship between Yin and Yang keeps a harmonious balance that maintains the normal physiological functions of life.

Our bodies have a complex system of meridians (energy channels), which flow throughout our body, distributing Qi (life force energy) and blood to all of our tissues and organs.

If there is an imbalance between the Yin and Yang or obstruction in the flow of Qi or Blood, health problems arise.

Acupuncture can help to remove the blockage, restore balance between Yin and Yang, and stimulate the body’s natural ability to heal.

CAN ACUPUNCTURE HURT?

Acupuncture should not be painful. Many patients, when they first experience acupuncture, remark on how painless it is. The insertion of the needles does sometimes produce some sensation, often described as a pinch, a pulling, a dull ache, perhaps a feeling of electricity or tingling. On occasion, once the needle has been inserted, patients have reported that they can feel Qi running up or down the body or a limb.

 The acupuncturist may manipulate the needles once they have been inserted to achieve better treatment results, and with this, you may experience a vague numbness, heaviness, tingling or a throbbing ache.

Infrequently, when a needle is inserted, it may stimulate a little nerve ending or nick a small blood vessel. This may feel like you’ve been stung by a bee. This intense sensation should pass almost immediately and does not have any lasting sensation. However, if it does not, the practitioner will remove the needle and reinsert in such a way that the needling sensation is comfortable. These are all normal sensations when receiving treatment. Most of the time, you will not feel any sensation at all.

At no time should you have any sensation that is beyond your tolerance level. If this occurs, let your practitioner know right away.

Many patients report that they begin to feel a real sense of wellbeing, relaxation, euphoria, and clear-mindedness during and after acupuncture treatments.

Ear Acupuncture treatment at Refined Health & Wellness in St. Albert
TCM Acupuncture treatment at Refined Health & Wellness in St. Albert

NEEDLE ALTERNATIVES

Acupressure points on the hand

Do you prefer to avoid needles, but want to experience the incredible benefits of acupuncture?  We have a solution for you!  

Acupressure employs the same Traditional Chinese Medicine system used in acupuncture, and is performed by using specific massage techniques on the energetic points (meridians) rather than needling them.  Although this technique allows less time for point manipulation, it is a great alternative to needling while achieving the same great results.

IS ACUPUNCTURE SAFE? HOW BIG ARE THE NEEDLES?

Acupuncture is safe when it is practiced by qualified Registered Acupuncturists.

The needles used for acupuncture are very fine, sterile, disposable, single use and stainless steel. There are virtually no adverse effects or complications because it is an all-natural, drug-free therapy.

Acupuncture needles are tiny, the width of a human hair. Even though an acupuncture treatment is not painful, you will feel something. Acupuncture needles are used to stimulate specific points along a meridian. This stimulation can feel like soreness, tingling, numbness, warmth, cold, electricity, but never “pain”.

PHOTO: The adjacent photo uniquely exhibits just how tiny acupuncture needles are.  In this situation, 20 acupuncture needles are fit into one typical hypodermic needle (used for vaccines and bloodwork).

20 acupuncture needles inserted into the tip of one hypodermic needle

WHAT CAN TCM ACUPUNCTURE TREAT?

TCM Acupuncture treatment at Refined Health & Wellness in St. Albert

The list of diseases and conditions for which acupuncture would be an appropriate treatment is extensive. Acupuncture is a complete medical system in itself, and is also an excellent compliment to almost any other treatment, including western pharmaceuticals and surgery, herbal therapies, massage and chiropractic care.

Acupuncture is not a cure all, nor is it an aggressive intervention. It cannot, by itself, cure cancer. Furthermore, it does not cure autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, Addison’s disease or lupus.

Acupuncture is, on the other hand, an extremely effective, drug-free, non-surgical treatment to ease the serious side effects of cancer treatments and hormone replacement therapies. It is also a great treatment to relieve pain and helps speed up healing after an injury or surgery.

The World Health Organization and the National Institute of Health endorse Acupuncture as being an effective mode of treatment for treating numerous conditions, such as the ones listed below:

Mental-Emotional – i.e. Stress, Grief, Anger, Anxiety, Depression, Insomnia

Musculoskeletal and Neurologic – i.e. Headaches, Migraines, Facial Paralysis, Neck, Shoulders, Lower Back Stiffness and Pain, Sciatica, Knee Pain, Ankle Pain, Sport Injuries, Muscle Pain, Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Inflammation, Frozen shoulder, Tennis Elbow, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Tendonitis, Sprains, Trigeminal Neuralgia

Internal – i.e. Allergies, Dizziness, Low Energy, Chronic Fatigue, Cold Limbs, Asthma, Indigestion, Constipation, Diarrhea, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Stomachache

Dermatological – i.e. Acne, Shingles

Eyes-Ears-Nose-Throat – i.e. Hay Fever, Sinusitis, Ringing in the Ears, Sore Throat

Infections – i.e. Common Colds and Flus, Bronchitis

Reproductive – i.e. PMS, Irregular Menstrual Cycle, Menstrual Cramps, Menopausal Symptoms, Hot Flashes, Low Sex Drive, Impotence, Infertility and Sexual Dysfunction

Other – i.e. Anti-Aging, Weight Control, Smoking Cessation, Addiction to Drugs or Alcohol

**Please note that this is not an extensive list of the conditions treatable by acupuncture.  For more information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

**You do not have to be ill or in pain to receive acupuncture treatments.  At all times, acupuncture is great for balancing the body’s systems, reducing stress, promoting general resiliency and boosting the immune system.  Be proactive with your health and receive regular acupuncture treatments!

COMBINING HOLISTIC HEALTH MODALITIES AND TCM ACUPUNCTURE

In addition to standard acupuncture techniques, your practitioner may request to incorporate Electroacupuncture, Ear Acupuncture, Moxibustion, Tui Na Massage, Fire Cupping, or Gua Sha, as part of your overall treatment plan.

For more information regarding these supplementary modalities, please view the following descriptions below:

GUA SHA   |    FIRE CUPPING   |    EAR ACUPUNCTURE   |    ELECTROACUPUNCTURE   |    MOXIBUSTION   |    TUI NA MASSAGE

Before After

GUA SHA

Gua – translates as rub or scrape, Sha – a term used to describe the substances released to the surface of the body after the rubbing or scraping occurs.

Gua Sha is designed to release unhealthy elements from injured areas of the body and stimulates blood flow and healing.  Using specialized instruments made from plastic, soap stone or jade, the practitioner uses repeated strokes over specific areas to release adhesions, reduce excess fluids, loosen connective tissue and release stagnant blood trapped within the tissues.

FIRE CUPPING

Fire Cupping is the term applied to the technique that uses small glass cups as suction devices that are placed on the skin. Suction in the cup is achieved by placing an inverted cup over a small flame to create a vacuum effect within the cup. Flames are never used near the skin and are only a means to create the heat that causes the suction within the cups.

Once the cups are placed on the skin and suction has occurred, the skin and superficial muscle will be lightly pulled into the cup. This causes the skin to redden as the blood vessels expand. This is much like the inverse of massage: rather than applying pressure to muscles, it uses gentle pressure to pull them upward. This provides an especially pleasant experience!

Fire Cupping therapy is designed to align and relax Qi, open Meridians, clear blockages, release toxins, move lymph, and invigorate veins and arteries with fresh blood. Cupping can be used to treat back and neck pain, reduce inflammation, increase blood flow, loosen scar tissue and muscle knots, and can also help treat anxiety, fatigue and migraines.

This treatment is also valuable for the lungs, and can clear congestion from a common cold or help control a person’s asthma. In fact, respiratory conditions are one of the most common illnesses that cupping is used to relieve.

**IMPORTANT**

Gua Sha and Cupping are time-tested Traditional Chinese Medical treatments that purposely leave a variety of marks resembling bruising and injury. While the marks look painful, the experience of Cupping and Gua Sha is pleasant, providing an immediate change in pain, mobility and tension. The marks left on the skin dissipate within two to five days and is a natural, positive response to the therapy.

EAR ACUPUNCTURE

Ear Acupuncture (or auricular acupuncture) is the stimulation of acupuncture points on the external surface of the ear for the diagnosis and treatment of health conditions in other areas of the body.

The ear holds a microsystem of the body, and by needling the respective points on the ear, the body responds as it would to acupoints located on the body. Treatments can be provided with needles, electrotherapy or ear seeds.

Ear Acupuncture is a treatment modality that is free of side effects, and brings remarkable results for any condition treatable with Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, such as: chronic pain, neurological and hormonal conditions, migraines, insomnia, stress, depression and irritable bowel syndrome (to name a few).

Electroacupuncture set up with wires clipped to acupuncture needles

ELECTROACUPUNCTURE

Electroacupuncture is an alternative technique designed to promote the flow of Qi and blood, relieve pain, warm the muscles and remove blockages within the Meridians. The procedure for electroacupuncture involves inserting the needles first, then attaching a small electrode to the needles. These electrodes apply a pulsating electrical current to the needles as a way of stimulating the acupoints and enhancing the Qi. The practitioner controls the current using the small electro-stimulating device. A gentle vibration is felt, and this stimulates the Qi running through the acupoint.  Electroacupuncture is painless and is often very soothing to the patient.  It also:

  • Substitutes for the practitioner’s prolonged hand maneuvering of the needle.
  • Assures that the patient gets the amount of stimulation needed.
  • Reduces total treatment time by providing continued stimulus.
  • Produces a stronger stimulation without causing tissue damage (strong stimulation is mostly needed for difficult neurological disorders, chronic pain, spasms or paralysis).
  • And provides a more fluid treatment.

Holistic Sports Medicine commonly uses electroacupuncture for the treatment of pain and range of motion following injuries and surgeries.

Moxa stick from a moxibustion treatment

MOXIBUSTION

Moxibustion is a technique designed to warm the body and the Meridians (which stimulates the flow of Blood and Qi), stimulate the immune system and maintain general health.

This therapy involves the burning of the herb Mugwort (known as Moxa) to facilitate healing. The dried, processed leaves, when burned, produce a unique penetrating heat that is stimulating to the body.

In indirect Moxibustion (the moxibusion technique used at Refined Massage Therapy), your practitioner will light one end of a moxa stick (moxa herb compressed into a stick roughly the shape and size of a cigar) and will then hold it close to the area being treated for several minutes until the skin becomes warm and red. The patient will experience a pleasant heating sensation that penetrates deep into the skin, and should not experience any pain or blistering. This technique can be used to treat colds and flus, pain, menstrual disorders and infertility and has successfully been used to turn breech babies into a normal head-down position prior to childbirth.

Meridian and Acupressure

TUI NA MASSAGE

The literal translation of Tui Na (pronounced “twee nah”) is “Push and Grasp”.

Tui Na is designed to help promote circulation and relieve pain. This category of physical therapy includes acupressure, massage, stretching and manipulation. Techniques of pressing, rolling, grasping and rubbing are used, and even gentle pounding to encourage the release of tension from myofascial tissue. This technique works on the same points and Meridians used in acupuncture, and employs the same basic theory as Traditional Chinese Medicine.

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